Imagination in China lab RISC-V deal

August 20, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
Imagination in China lab RISC-V deal
RIOS Laboratory and Imagination Technologies partner for GPU in RISC-V single board computer designs

Imagination Technologies is to license select graphics IP to the RISC-V International Open Source Laboratory (RIOS Lab) in China.

The collaboration supports the PicoRio board that is the first RISC-V development platform released by the RIOS Lab, a spinout of the Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI) in Shenzhen, China.

The deal enables the RIOS Lab to build a complete development platform and open-source ecosystem for RISC-V single-board computers.

“Through the collaboration with Imagination, RIOS Lab will break the monopoly of commercial enterprises in the field of hardware processors,” said  Zhangxi Tan, Co-Director of RIOS Laboratory. ”We’re delighted to have Imagination onboard and through further collaborations and the cultivation of talent in semiconductor and information industries, the RIOS Lab will become a significant global contributor of next-generation processors.”

The access to Imagination's IP enables future development boards and other products developed by the RIOS Lab will include high-quality GPU display and image processing. Along with the RIOS RISC-V CPU core, memory, and other IP, the product will provide a complete development platform with a suite of open source software.

“By collaborating with the RIOS Lab, we’re able to provide a comprehensive GPU solution for those looking to design with the RISC-V architecture, while also supporting the development of an open-source ecosystem. We’re excited to be working with the RIOS Lab and seeing the this ecosystem grow,” said John Rayfield, Chief Technical Officer, GPU & Compute, Imagination.

Imagination has had a stormy relationship with China. Since its acquisition by China-funded Canyon Bridge , there has been concern that IP and expertise is being transferred. 

The RIOS Lab uses collaborative engineering from both academia and industry to work on the RISC-V software and hardware ecosystem. It was founded by David Patterson, a Turing Award laureate and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the RISC-V Foundation, as well as the Pardee Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus, at UC Berkeley having retired in 2016.


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